5 Resume Changes to Make as You Climb The Ladder
When you are just starting out in the workforce, you will find resume advice aplenty online or through your college career office. Showcase your internships, part-time jobs, extracurriculars, and stellar GPA, and your resume will turn heads. But resume writing gets trickier when you are ready to move up from an entry-level position. What resume entries should you keep—and what should you delete? Here are five resume changes to implement as you edit with an eye past entry level.
1. Focus on your industry experience
Now that you have a few years of work experience under your belt, it's time to say goodbye to the mainstays of your entry-level resume. You can safely remove your GPA—no one cares about the long-term effects of the anthropology final you bombed. Nor do they care about the clubs you joined in college or the semi-related internship you completed after freshman year. What hiring managers do care about is how you perform in a real-life work environment in your industry. (Depending on how long you have been in the workforce and how prestigious an internship was, you might continue listing such a work experience on your resume, but that is a judgment call based on your specific situation.)
2. Convey your results in bullet points
Once you delete minor internships, student activities, and your GPA, you have plenty of real estate to showcase your work successes. An achievement-oriented resume demonstrates how you have contributed to your company in concrete terms. Do not just say you handled the company's Instagram account. Instead, include bullet points explaining that you increased Instagram engagement by 5 percent. You might remember your English teacher telling you to "show, don't tell" in your writing. This is the same concept. (Plus, these kinds of stats are good conversation starters for your interviews.)
3. Explain how you have gone above and beyond
Your job description is a decent starting place for writing your resume, but it should only be a launch pad. Your resume needs to explain how you've gone beyond basic expectations. You need to focus on your achievements, not your duties. If you want to progress beyond entry level, look for opportunities to showcase projects you have managed, external relationships you have facilitated, etc. You might not have had the opportunity to supervise other positions, but that doesn't mean you haven't had experience managing relationships with other people. (And managing without authority is often a delicate dance.)
4. Don't forget LinkedIn
LinkedIn is a playground for today's recruiters. If they are interested in you, they want to know you have a well-maintained presence on the social network. It is commonplace these days to swap out your physical address for your LinkedIn URL in your resume heading. This makes it easy for recruiters to visit your profile—and you definitely want them to. LinkedIn extends your resume real estate, making it possible to spotlight articles you have written, your civic engagement, etc.
5. Write not only for humans but also for computers
Like it or not, chances are good your resume will initially be read by a computer. Artificial intelligence in the form of an applicant-tracking system (ATS) is looking for certain keywords to put your resume in the queue for human review. Before you submit your resume, you will want to scan the job posting to see if any modifications are needed to match your skillset to keywords. You want to be clear and direct in your resume writing. This is not the time to break out your thesaurus or use bloated business jargon.
Of course, as you give your resume a post-entry level makeover, all the standard resume advice still applies: Proofread. Have a friend proofread. Do not get too fancy with your font. And proofread again.